Rep. Payne, Jr. Concerned about FEMA’s Preparedness for Hurricane Laura during Global Pandemic    

Washington, D.C. — Congressman Donald M. Payne, Jr. released the following statement on Thursday whether the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is prepared to help Americans recover from Hurricane Laura and other natural disasters during the coronavirus global pandemic.

“I am extremely concerned about the health and safety of Americans when Hurricane Laura comes ashore,” said Congressman Donald M. Payne, Jr.  “The fact that President Trump would take up to $44 billion from FEMA’s Disaster Relief Fund right before a possibly record-setting hurricane season shows his inability to protect our country during a crisis.  If he had convinced his Senate allies to pass our Heroes Act, we would have extended unemployment benefits and still had plenty of money for FEMA and states to use to help Americans recover from a natural disaster, like Hurricane Laura.

As Chairman of the Subcommittee on Emergency Preparedness, Response and Recovery for the House Committee on Homeland Security, I wrote a letter to FEMA Administrator Peter Gaynor in April to ask if the agency had the resources to handle the coronavirus crisis and other natural disasters at the same time.  I never got a single answer to any of my questions.  Recently, I wrote another letter to ask how FEMA planned to help Americans recover from natural disasters when it lost the $44 billion.  I doubt I’ll get an answer to those questions.

There is a reason the Constitution gave Congress the sole power to authorize government expenditures.  It was to prevent reckless presidents from taking money from one program to fund another one.  FEMA exists to help the country recover from national emergencies.  Whether it is taking funds from FEMA or failing to test Americans for coronavirus, it is clear that we have a president who doesn’t seem to care about the suffering of the American people.”